I remember that long ago in the '70s, when like the Gilbreths
in Cheaper by the Dozen, we stopped at every promising clump of trees, when driving long distances such as from Lahore to Karachi, and back.
(37) Indeed, it was the Gilbreths
, a husband and wife duo of Taylorist disciples, who first translated worker knowledge and function into modern job descriptions in the form of work instruction cards.
He perceives the Gilbreths
and Gantt as trying to soften the force of their mentor Taylor and hence began to conceive of and leverage power as being properly flowing from the bottom up in the organization.
Two other important early industrial engineers were the husband-and-wife team of Frank and Lillian Gilbreth
. The Gilbreths
were the founders of modern motion technique, the study of the body motions used in performing an operation in order to improve the operation by eliminating unnecessary motions, simplifying necessary motions, and establishing the most favorable motion sequence for maximum efficiency.
Although Amar's independent support of Taylor's work from halfway around the world is impressive, even more convincing support can be found in the work of Frank and Lillian Gilbreth
. Like Taylor, the Gilbreths
deplored inefficiency: "The greatest waste in the world comes from needless, ill-directed, and ineffective motions" (Gilbreth
, 1917/1953, p.
' children were not exempt from their parents' efficiency methods, either.
Yet it was in the reform of office work, and particularly through the efforts of Frank and Lilian Gilbreth
(1914) that the labour process became most obviously gendered, where men managed women -- in fact, as immortalized in the film Cheaper by the Dozen the routinization of the workplace is extended into the home, and even the womb (the Gilbreths
had 12 children) and t urned into an ironic romp about the way that they reputedly lived their lives together according to work-study principles.
In reviewing the works of such pioneers as Owen (1857), Babbage (1832), Taylor (1903 & 1911), Gantt (1910, 1916, & 1919), the Gilbreths
(1917), Fayol (1930), Weber (1947), Follett (1918), Barnard (1938), and others, Wren provides compelling insight on how modern management is, in large part, simply applied science that appears to implicitly assume that "when family and business are interrelated, a less effective business enterprise generally results" (Donnelly, 1964, p.
For Spaeth's criticism of the Gilbreths
' work, see ibid., 446-47.
But it was in the decade before World War I that work by Frederick Taylor, Henry Gantt, Harrington Emerson, the Gilbreths
and others produced a body of knowledge and principles that could be dignified by the term "science." Emergence of a professional management association, meetings and journals helped to disseminate findings of management studies.
Disappointedly, the extensive review by Obermann (1966) and the extremely comprehensive Handbook of Personnel Management and Labor Relations (Yoder, Heneman, Turnbull, & Stone, 1958) contained no reference to the Gilbreths
and the disabled.